Hawks impress with second place finish

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Woodland’s Matthew Butterworth competes in the high jump during the NVL indoor boys and girls track championships Jan. 28 at the Floyd Little Athletic Center at Hillhouse High School in New Haven. The Woodland boys came in second at the meet. –LUKE MARSHALL
Woodland’s Matthew Butterworth competes in the high jump during the NVL indoor boys and girls track championships Jan. 28 at the Floyd Little Athletic Center at Hillhouse High School in New Haven. The Woodland boys came in second at the meet. –LUKE MARSHALL

NEW HAVEN — A second-place finish for a Woodland boys indoor track program that is no stranger to winning the Naugatuck Valley League title might seem disappointing, but Hawks coach Tim Shea was impressed with his team Tuesday night at the Floyd Little Athletic Center.

“It was a good day overall,” Shea said. “The boys exceeded expectations. They competed very hard today and we beat our seeds in almost everything. We’re disappointed in being runner-up because of our standards, but these kids worked very hard.”

The Hawks lost to Wolcott by a mere one point. The Eagles won the 4-by-400-meter relay to make up a seven-point deficit entering the final event, while Woodland’s fifth-place finish in the event sealed the decision.

Woodland took five of the 15 events, thanks in large part to the efforts of Mike Lang. He pulled off another triple-gold performance by winning the long jump (21 feet, ½ inch), high jump (5-8) and 55-meter hurdles (8.29 seconds) en route to being named Outstanding in Field, Outstanding Meet Performer and Outstanding Senior.

“I just started (hurdles) this year,” Lang said. “Running an 8.29 was pretty good, so I’m pretty happy with that. I can’t get too impressed. There’s always someone who wants to beat you.”

Lang’s efforts gave Woodland 30 of its 86 points in the final league meet of his storied indoor track career.

“We tried to figure out what his best third event would be to help us the most,” Shea said. “He’s extremely versatile. He’s helped us out immensely for four years.”

Woodland swept the field events. In addition to Lang’s two jumping wins, Drew Chura took the pole vault by leaping 10 feet and Levi Fancher won the shot put with a heave of 46-8.

The Hawks posted several second-place performances. The 4-by-200 relay team (Sean McAllen, Tom Bethin, James Yacavone, Jason Rodrigues), Dean Conway (1,000 meters) and the sprint medley team (Rodrigues, Josh Collet, Yacavone, Conway) all earned silver medals.

Naugatuck's Mark Zamani and Watertown's Seamus Rafferty battle during their leg of the 4-by-800-meter relay at the NVL indoor boys and girls track championships Jan. 28 at the Floyd Little Athletic Center at Hillhouse High School in New Haven. The Naugatuck boys came in sixth at the meet. –LUKE MARSHALL
Naugatuck’s Mark Zamani and Watertown’s Seamus Rafferty battle during their leg of the 4-by-800-meter relay at the NVL indoor boys and girls track championships Jan. 28 at the Floyd Little Athletic Center at Hillhouse High School in New Haven. The Naugatuck boys came in sixth at the meet. –LUKE MARSHALL

Woodland’s 4-by-800 squad (Paul Jones, Zach Noreika, Matt Giaquinto, Jeff Giusto) also took a third-place finish.

Naugatuck scored 46 points to finish sixth overall. Dan Schumacher earned the Greyhounds’ only event win when he finished first in the 1,600 meters. Schumacher held off Torrington’s John Pirla down the stretch and crossed the line in 4 minutes, 35.33 seconds — just a half-second faster than Pirla.

“It’s really strange because you don’t think you have it, but you get this burst of adrenaline at the last second,” Schumacher said. “You’re wondering what’s going to happen the entire race, and then it just happens. I couldn’t have done it without Pirla right there, and I think it made both of us better.”

Schumacher also helped Naugy’s 4-by-800 squad finish second. Others on that relay included Tyler Hayward, Mark Zamani and Brody Hale. Nate Franklin posted a pair of third-place finishes in the 55 meters and long jump, while James SanAngelo took third in the shot put.